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Fluorescent Glow Might Disclose Hidden Life In The Cosmos

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Astronauts have found a new method of hinting for life in the space. Red suns’ harmful ultraviolet radiation flares, once believed to destroy planets’ surface life, may assist find concealed biospheres. Their radiation might activate a defensive glow (dubbed as bio-fluorescence) from life on exoplanets, as per new research by Cornell University.

“Biofluorescent Worlds II: Biological Fluorescence Induced by Stellar UV Flares, a New Temporal Biosignature,” was posted in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“This is a fully new method to hunt for life in the cosmos. Just picture an alien world shimmering softly in a telescope,” claimed Jack O’Malley-James, lead author and researcher at Cornell’s Carl Sagan Institute.

“On our planet, there are some undersea coral that employs bio-fluorescence to convert the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun into undamaging visible wavelengths, making a beautiful sparkle. Maybe such forms of life can be present on other worlds as well, leaving us a telltale hint to locate them,” claimed Lisa Kaltenegger, co-author and director of the Carl Sagan Institute and associate professor for astronomy.

Astronomers normally agree that a huge part of exoplanets—planets further than our solar system—live in the livable zone of M-type stars, the most abundant types of stars in the cosmos. M-type stars flare frequently, and when those UV flares hit their planets, bio-fluorescence might paint these realms in beautiful colors. The next-gen of space- or Earth-based telescopes can identify the glowing exoplanets if they survive in the cosmos.

On a related note, a global team of astronomers spearheaded by Cornell’s Lisa Kaltenegger has distinguished the first possibly habitable world further than our solar system found by NASA’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). Situated almost 31 light-years away, the super-Earth world—dubbed as GJ 357 d—was found early this year due to TESS.

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